Faculty Brief Senior Advisor to President Obama on AIDS Efforts in DC

On November 19th School of Public Health and Health Services faculty members Amanda Castel and Alan Greenberg were invited by the Office of National AIDS Policy to brief Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarett at Whitman Walker Health, a DC-area community health center focused on HIV/AIDs and LGBT health issues. The event included a panel discussion with HIV/AIDS patients and a presentation by Dr. Castel and Michael Kharfen, the Interim Senior Deputy Director of the HIV/AIDS Hepatitis, STD, TB Administration at the DC Department of Health.

DC is one of the areas of the United States hardest hit by the HIV epidemic, and Dr. Castel described local research efforts to curb the epidemic including the GW-DC Department of Health Academic-Public Health Partnership for HIV/AIDS; the development of the DC Cohort,  a longitudinal public health database of HIV-infected persons in care in DC; and the NIH-supported CFAR ECHPP studies to help improve the continuum of HIV care in DC.

The DC D-CFAR is a multi-institutional collaboration directed by Alan Greenberg, the chair of the SPHHS epidemiology and biostatistics department. The center brings together researchers from American University, Children's National Medical Center, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Created by the National Institutes of Health, the CFARs aim to create "a multi-disciplinary environment that promotes basic, clinical, epidemiologic, behavioral, and translational research in the prevention, detection, and treatment of HIV infection and AIDS."

Last month GW brought together AIDS researchers from 18 United States CFARs as the host of the 7th National Scientific Meeting of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network. The scientific meeting allowed researchers, social and behavioral scientists, and experts in the field of HIV/AIDS to gather and discuss the vital need for new multidisciplinary and cross-CFAR research activities and to continue to establish a research agenda in social and behavioral science.